Healers as far back as 1000 A.D. have extracted essential oils from plants to create treatments for a variety of medical and cosmetic purposes. Although there is a lack of quality research into many types of essential oils, studies have identified several that may provide beneficial health boosts.

Lavender Oil

Because evidence shows that it can lower cortisol levels, lavender oil may be beneficial for anxiety. In addition, the oil not only decreases blood pressure, skin temperature, and heart rate, but may promote sleep, relax the body, and accelerate wound healing.

However, people may experience allergic skin reactions if they apply lavender oil directly to the skin. Research suggests long-term use can lead to abnormal breast growth in young boys.


Tea Tree Oil

Essential tree oil, or melaleuca, has antimicrobial properties, which means some of its compounds kill microorganisms like bacteria. Research supports its antibacterial effects. One study showed that tree tea oil decreased healing times in all but one of the test subjects. Additional evidence indicates that products containing tea tree oil can significantly improve mild to moderate acne.


Peppermint Oil

A small amount of research suggests that taking peppermint oil in capsule form may improve irritable bowel symptoms in adults and relieve abdominal pain in children. Other studies show that topical applications could be beneficial for tension headaches.

Some breastfeeding mothers use peppermint oil to reduce cracked skin and pain in the nipple area. However, physicians warn that it should be used only after breastfeeding, as it contains phenol, which can irritate the respiratory tracts of young children and infants.


Lemon Oil

To create lemon essential oil, producers extract it from the peel of fresh lemons. A person can apply it topically or inhale it via aromatherapy. While lemon oil fans boast a long list of benefits, researchers have only studied a small number of claims.

It does appear to be effective for relieving stress, even more so than lavender or rose oils. A 2016 study found that it relieved anxiety levels in patients who had undergone orthopedic surgery. Lemon essential oil may also decrease nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, according to 2014 research.


Rose Oil

Rose is one of the most popular scents in the world, and studies say that scent may have beneficial health properties all on their own. Research indicates that the aroma of rose oil may reduce cortisol and overall stress levels in humans. Experts also found that rose oil lowered breathing rates and systolic blood pressure, which could relieve symptoms of stress and depression.


Ginger Oil

For decades, researchers have suspected that ginger provides a variety of health benefits. A few studies confirm its anti-inflammatory effects in rats, and its ability to lower arthritis symptoms. While it did not reduce acute joint swelling, it inhibited chronic swelling.

Ginger oil may also relieve digestive upset, migraine discomfort, and nausea, although most of these claims are anecdotal. A 2015 study found that ginger oil has high antioxidant activity and can help ease skin roughness.


Eucalyptus Oil

Consumers will find eucalyptus oil in an array of medicinal products for the treatment of respiratory conditions, sinus congestion, influenza, the common cold, and joint pain due to its antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

However, there is little scientific documentation available for these specific uses, so effects may not be pronounced. People who take medications for seizures or ADHD should check with a physician before using eucalyptus oil because it can lower the effectiveness of these prescriptions.


Grapefruit Oil

Most people would not argue against the nutritional and taste value of grapefruits and other citrus fruits. Much like lemon, grapefruit essential oil is extracted from the citrus fruit’s peel, which contains high amounts of terpenes and terpene oxides. These compounds are responsible for the fragrance, pigmentation, and taste of plants and may prevent inflammatory disease.

Grapefruit essential oil inhibits the growth of bacteria and has significant antioxidant activity. Researchers believe that it could also hinder cancer cells, but more studies are necessary to confirm this.


Chamomile Oil

People experiencing situational anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder may find that chamomile essential oil has a calming effect. Research also shows that it can be used as an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, and for the treatment of wounds, eczema, and diaper rash.

While there are individuals who swear by its effectiveness for indigestion, irritable bowel symptoms, and colic, more research is necessary to determine whether chamomile essential oil is safe for these issues.


Jasmine Oil

Evidence shows that aromatherapy with jasmine oil works as an antidepressant, diminishing depressive symptoms and improving mood. Additional research suggests it is an effective psoriasis treatment and may speed up wound healing. Scientific research does not support the popular notion that this essential oil acts as an aphrodisiac, however.


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